Students enrolled 147
Hours 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
School leader Ina Fort
Transportation options None
Type no info
Before school Yes
After school Yes

Contact this school

1101 Balsam Road
Columbia, SC 29210

School website
(803) 772-2262
(803) 772-4414
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Montessori Early Learning Center address.

5 stars
Based on 50 ratings

Let others know what you
think about this school

August 26, 2014
My daughter left this school last week to begin Kindergarten in public school. My daughter spent two years at MELC, and we could not be more pleased with the results and with the staff. Our daughter is a year early going to kindergarten, but she already reads and has "regular" conversations (no toddler talk). She counts out loud and does basic addition and subtraction. She sings and dances thru our house, mimicking and practicing the work done at MELC. Our home is filled with crafts that were all done at MELC. The staff at MELC are all great, and I believe they truly care about us. I strongly recommend MELC to anyone who wants their child to be at a safe place where the child can learn academically and learn to interact with other children and adults.

- submitted by a parent
July 20, 2014
I am the owner and facilitator of Rhythmic Memory LLC, in which I bring group drumming sessions for health & wellness, self-expression, and team-building to schools, churches, seniors, support groups, and other venues. The Montessori Early Learning Center and School of the Arts recently had me bring this opportunity to their students. I was immediately struck by the polite and respectful behavior of the students as they entered the building -which also continued throughout our hour together. I was also impressed by their confidence, as they readily jumped into starting our group out with their own beat for us to join them in when I asked for volunteers. This eagerness was also present when I asked for volunteers - of all ages - to act as the facilitator of our drum circle from the center of the circle with cues they had learned during our session. It was obvious their learning was equipping them with such important life skills as respect for self and others, self-esteem, and an eagerness to learn. They were a JOY to work and play with, and I am looking forward to returning for another session with them!

- submitted by a community member
June 19, 2014
The Montessori experience has been great for our daughter and I seriously doubt that she would have done as well in a traditional school setting. We would whole-heartedly recommend the Montessori Early Learning Center to anyone and sing their praises. They have an outstanding program and a great staff that not only care about the education of the children, but also their overall well-being.

- submitted by a parent
June 02, 2014
My daughter attended MELC from 2 -8 years old. It was an amazing experience! Taylor learned a lot at a very young age. I am forever grateful to the MELC staff for the time and energy they put in to the educational growth and social maturity of my daughter Taylor. I grew as well. Taylor just completed her first year at Crayton Middle School! Her grades were exemplary! She is a year younger than her peers. She has been chosen to go to Africa next year with the School District. She demonstrates the team spirit that she learned at MELC. The one word I can use to describe MELC is Life Changing ! Trust the process, it works!!!!

- submitted by a parent
May 16, 2014
I'm so thankful we decided to put granddaughter at this Montessori School for many reasons. Kaiya just turned 4 and is in her 9th reading book. She's doing math, kiddie music,strategy class, just to name a few things . She even wants to do homework on the weekends.This method of learning is amazing. The teachers are so patient and loving with each child which is important. Thank you for all you do.

- submitted by a community member
April 29, 2014
Montessori Early Learning Center has provided both of our children with an amazing educational foundation. We feel confident that their curiosity and love of learning will continue throughout their lifetime. Our children have felt loved, respected and empowered in this environment. And my husband and I know they have been safe and nurtured, while being challenged to do their very best. We could not have designed a more perfect educational experience for them.

- submitted by a parent
March 14, 2013
So glad I found this school! My Daughter just turned 4 and has been attending since she was 2 1/2. She loves learning the Montessori way. Her teachers and staff are warm and caring. She is so independent, respectful, and confident thanks to the way they inspire the children to learn. My daughter is reading and doing addition and subtraction. She is passionate about learning. She also loves the playground and the friends she has made there to the point if we try to pick her up early in the summer she does not want to leave because she is having so much fun. I have nothing but positives to say about this school, I wish I could have attended this school.

- submitted by a parent
January 18, 2013
A wonderful school with wonderful staff & administration. I think that being in business since 1976 speaks volumes in itself.

- submitted by a parent
March 06, 2012
I am a 57 year old grandmother who has a grandson at MELC. If you are not familiar with the Montesorri theory of learning please do yourself a favor and research the subject. I wish that I had done so earlier because of the amazing progress that my grandson is making in all areas of personal and scholastic development. I love the independence that he displays as a result of being allowed to explore the environment of the classroom which is set up to intrigue and capture the interest of young exploring minds. MELC offers parent education classes so I understand how my grandson is learning. Ms. Ina is a fantastic educator and I feel confident that my grandson is receiving the best possible education under her professional expertise. Also, my grandchildren are my life. Everything that matters to me in this world evolves around their well-being. My grandson was at a previous daycare center and I had concerns about his care. Today, I go to work without worry as I am certain that Ms. Ina and all of the staff at MELC have my grandchild's best interest at heart. Do yourself a favor and take the MELC tour. See for yourself! The proof is in the pudding!

- submitted by a parent
March 05, 2012
Thank you to Mrs.Ina and the great faculty that follows the path of montessori's learning methodology. Both my kids (ages 6 and 4) are in in this school. Me and my wife are very happy looking at the steep learning curve of both our kids.

- submitted by a parent
June 01, 2011
MELC is an amazing school! We have two children who attend MELC and we are constantly impressed by the well-rounded education they are receiving. Ms. Ina, Mr. Lee, Ms. Keisha, and Mr. Anthony are outstanding individuals who constantly strive to create a wonderful, nurturing educational environment. We also find that the importance placed on social responsibility, i.e. being helpful to others, doing the right thing are values rarely stressed in most environments these days. At MELC, these values are modeled by the leaders and teachers and fostered by the children in the classes as a whole. It brings us great joy to see our children in such a wonderful environment! I would trust their care to no one else.

- submitted by a parent
May 31, 2011
I attended this school as a child for 3 years, and now I have 2 of my own children attending this school. I also have a third child waiting to become old enough to attend. It is a great place for them, and they learn so much. I feel blessed to be able to have my kids attend this school. The pool is great for them in the summer, and they learn how to swim. All included in the cost of tuition.

- submitted by a parent
May 31, 2011
I have three grandchildren currently attending MELC and have been closely associated with the school since the oldest started over four years ago. I have been consistently pleased with the wonderful academic education they are receiving, as well as with their training in the arts and social responsibiiity.The warmth and support given each child from teachers, administrators, and other students often bring tears to my eyes at school events. I feel that my grandchildren will carrly the positive effects of their early school experience at MELC far into their futures. I do not believe anyone could find a better school anywhere.

- submitted by a parent
May 30, 2011
My daughter attended MELC for 6 years. We had a great experience! My daughter's math and reading skills are excellent. She received a solid academic foundation. She has great memories of the arts program. She studied ballet and drama during her time at the school. It is a very warm and loving environment. One in which, e you can rest assured that you will be given the truth about your child's progress. We have only been gone a few months, but there is not a day that passes, that I don't think of the school and thank God for finding such a place for my daughter to grow and develop. Ms. Ina is very focused on accommodating the needs of the children. She accepts responsibility for their academic and social growth. My family is a 2nd generation family and I would not have it any other way!

- submitted by a parent
May 28, 2011
My four children were raised at MELC and my grandchild is enrolled there now. Thanks to the arts program and the school, they all have a wonderful education and a sense of self confidence that I'm not sure they would have received elsewhere. The arts program is fantastic as it offers everything from ballet to hip hop to gymnastics and the low cost of the programs assures me that they are in it for the love of it - not for the money. Thank you to Mrs. Fort, her wonderful staff and for the standards she runs that school by and I look forward to watching my grandchild grow and blossom in her school.

- submitted by a parent
May 28, 2011
MELC is the best and most pure montessori school in Columbia. I visited many schools before deciding on where to put my children and I can say that no other school could provide the range of opportunities, both Montessori and extra curricular that this school has to offer. The teachers are excellent and truly care about the children. The Facility is beautiful and made just for the children. I don't think you will find a better school for your child in Columbia.

- submitted by a parent
May 28, 2011
I am a proud mom of a recent college graduate. I have no doubt that my son's graduation was due in part to obtaining a mastery of reading, writing, arithmetic, language and reasoning while attending MELC. Owner/Administrator Ms. Fort has loved, taught and guided many children in the 30+ years MELC has been in business. She and her dedicated teachers/staff have introduced children to a world of learning that allows them to grow into intelligent, well rounded, confident young people. It is the oldest, largest and in my opinion the best Montessori school in Columbia.

- submitted by a parent
May 27, 2011
Best Montessori School in Columbia! I have had my children at MELC for over 5 years and I can tell you they are the only school to go to. The Directress Ina Fort has been in business for over 30 years and truly loves all of the children. As a parent I have truly come to appreciate: 1. The parent conferences 2. The first class staff 3. The full after school arts program 4. The Authentic Montessori training 5. The after school care program. I would HIGHLY recommend this school to ANYONE who is seriously considering a quality montessori education in Columbia. They have been in business for over 30 years for a reason and the results speak for themselves.

- submitted by a parent
May 27, 2011
We love MELC. The entire staff has been very encouraging to our children. The facility is first class as are the teachers. The BEST Montessori school in Columbia!

- submitted by a parent
May 27, 2011
Thank you Ms ina! The may music recital was fantastic. Thanks to your school my child has learnt how to sing and also dance. Your school is one of a kind and I recommend the parent tours to anyone.

- submitted by a parent
May 27, 2011
Great school! i've had my kids there for 2 years now, we tried the public system and it was awful so we swtiched to here. Everybody is very loving and caring to the kids. My daughter liked to walk in the office everybody to give the Miss Laura a hug. i am cofortable my kids are in a safe and loving enviroment. Miss Ina knows each of the kids and love them. she might appear tough but that's what a good school need, she has a great heart behind her toughness.

- submitted by a parent
March 03, 2011
During our initial interview we were totally amazed by all the fantastic programs and opportunities that are available for all the children at MELC. I cannot thank Ian Fort, and her staff enough, for looking after and nurturing my child . You see it's not just the "academics" it's everything. We have seen such a change in our child. She is so independent, she shows such a determination to achieve and she says things like " May I be excused?" without prompting. Mrs. Cindy, her teacher is amazing, my daughter raves about her. We hear all about the dynamic way she delivers lessons and encourages participation. She is such a kind and supportive soul. I could just go on and on about her love of Miss. Brittany, how the office staff is so supportive and helpful, not to mention how much our little girl enjoys her ballet and music classes. We just want to personally say thank you, to all of the staff at MELC, as a collective, they are helping build the foundation for our daughter's path towards a lifetime of improved academic achievement, focus and social interaction. This impact is so significant. It will help her for the rest of her life. We will be forever grateful.

- submitted by a parent
August 05, 2009
My 5 year old is learning to swim like a pro! The Directress is also the swim coach. She takes time with every student and teaches with patience and care. It was truly amazing to watch my 5 year old swim for a blue ribbon in the arms of the teacher who hugged every single student!

- submitted by a parent
July 29, 2009
One the great things that MELC offers is free swimming lessons for its students during the summer for children aged 4 1/2 and older. My daughter began lessons in June and when we went on vacation in mid-July, she amazed us with her swimming skills. She was able to swim half the width of the pool (underwater) and dive for weighted fish at the bottom of the shallow end (3 ft)...after just one month of lessons! This is just another example of the creative & innovative way that MELC educates children and builds their self-confidence. I continue to be thankful that I 'stumbled' upon this jewel of a school when we moved to Columbia 2 years ago!

- submitted by a parent
February 25, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
August 15, 2008
My daughter was born extremely pramture. As parents, we were concerned about her development and the type of education she receives. Given the possibility of her falling extremely far behind her peers, Ms. Ina and the teachers at MELC worked diligently on her development and education. For 3 years, our daughter has progressed in all levels of development. She is now on and above level in all areas of development ans education. This school is a perfect fit for all children, especially those that are like our daughter.

- submitted by a parent
October 03, 2007
I was referred to MELC by a friend when my daughter was 2-1/2 years old. Upon joining the MELC family we knew immediately that we had made the right decision for our daughter AND our family. I became very involved in the school activities, classroom support and the larger MELC community. Through partnership and love the MELC faculty helped us establish a child-friendly Montessori home that was nurturing and physically equipped for 'small hands'. From simple home recommendations such as establishing one corner in each room for your child's enjoyment, to after hours parent education, to in-class education.... we just could not have asked for anything more! After completing three years at MELC and a move to Atlanta, we are still in touch with our friends and family at MELC. There doesn't seem to be a day that goes by where we don't reference Ms. Mangala or MELC. Blessed friends forever!

- submitted by a parent
September 26, 2007
My son got a late start into the Montessori learning style but I couldn t be more pleased with the results thus far. I looked into enrolling my son in the South Congaree Early Education Program and had reservations regarding a required home visit and lack of responsiveness from the staff in returning my phone calls prior to the school year. One visit to MELC for a tour was all it took for me to enroll my son and feel confident that I had made the right choice! Ms. Ina is no nonsense and will tell you exactly like it is. She will not accept a child she feels will not succeed in the program. She is in it for the children and that is obvious. My son is getting the attention he deserves and a quality education. I would highly recommend this school and the Montessori learning style to anyone!

- submitted by a parent
August 13, 2007
The Montessori Early Center & School of the Arts is fabulous and beyond compare. The opportunities that this school has afforded our daughter over the past 5+ years have been vast. While the school is top notch academically and offers an education in the arts second to none, it is more importantly a safe haven for our daughter. In my experience, there is extensive parental involvement and the administration of this school is terrific. Ina has had 30+ years of success, and the children always come first with her. And, the results speak for themselves...my daughter loves this school, her fellow students, and the faculty. I know that being part of this school will serve her well in life.

- submitted by a parent
August 09, 2007
Putting my daughter into MELC when she was 3 was the best thing I ever did for her! She received nurturing care that she would not have received anywhere else, while learning reading, math, music, art, ballet, swimming, and how to get along with others. Ina Fort runs a tight ship. If you can step back and let her do what she does best, you will end up with a child that has truly been given all the best advantages early in life. My child ended up a year ahead when she went to public school, which was right for her, but not for every child. She is 9 and still begs every year to go back to MELC for the elementary summer program to get the nurturing she doesn't get in public school.

- submitted by a parent
no rating August 09, 2007
Montessori Early Learning Center is a GREAT school under the leadership of Ina Fort. All the kids love her, they hug her as she goes by. The teachers help each child to reach their full potential. Parents are given the opportunity to be involved as much as they desire. We highly recommend this school as being on of the very BEST.

- submitted by a parent
August 06, 2007
Montessori Early Learning Center has met and exceeded our expectations. The teachers and staff are caring, attentive and extremely quailified in the principles of Marie Montessori. The classrooms are peaceful, welcoming environments that stimulate young minds. The programs offered also develop independence, good manners and respect self and others. A variety of extracurricular programs are available at reasonable rates. These activities include art, music, gymnastics, speech and more. These programs are offered in addition to after school care. Our son has loved the summer swim program. The Parent's Club is very active and offers oppurtunities to raise addtional funds to enhance the school parents and students. Finding MELC was a blessing, and we are thankful for the leadership of the directors for establishing and continuing a quality Montessori program in the Columbia area.

- submitted by a parent
no rating August 06, 2007
My child attends this school, I have read the reveiws and agree totally with them. We love this school. My child is doing great. It is more than 5 stars. Connie Maxwell Cann

- submitted by a parent
August 06, 2007
Both of my nieces, now age 6 and 8, have attended MELC. My older niece has graduated from MELC and my younger niece still attends. Ms. Ina and her school are amazing!! The girls are confident, outgoing, well-rounded, and self sufficient. I am truly impressed with this school and its programs.

- submitted by a community member
August 02, 2007
My daughter is a graduate of the Montessori Early Learning School and my husband and I could not be more pleased with how well the Forts and the teaching staff prepared her for grade school. We are so confident in Ina Fort's Montessori program that we have enrolled our three year old son as well and look forward to watching him flourish under the Montessori method practiced by Ms. Fort. This program considers the total child. The students there are self confident, capable, and have a perpetual eagerness to learn more. Mrs. Fort cares for each child at her school as though they were own and we are so thankful for educators like her and her staff. If parents consider this program for their child, they will not be disappointed.

- submitted by a parent
no rating August 02, 2007
My 5 yro daughter just completed two years at MELC. In that amount of time, she gained a love for learning, learned to read and then read 60 readers, began writing stories and learned cursive handwriting, and found a love for math. She has blossomed under Ms. Mangala and Ms. Heather's guidance. Ms. Ina has been a Godsend to my daughter and I. I would highly recommend this school to anyone interested in having a loving, nuturing, safe, and challenging environment for their child!

- submitted by a parent
July 31, 2007
MELC is a great school. It is a wonderful learning facility for any child and parent eager to learn new and exciting things. The teachers are great and very caring. Not only is education the main focus but also communication skills and everyday life skills. I am very pleased with the relationships the teachers and the parents have with one another, even the students. I would recommend this school to any parent who wants the best for there child/children.

- submitted by a parent
July 31, 2007
This school is a fantastic place for children. All 3 of my children have attended, and I would not have considered placing them anywhere else after looking at other programs in the Columbia area. The first thing that made a strong impression on me is the how well mannered and intellectually engaged the children are in the classrooms. My kids enjoyed going to school everyday. Over the last 8 years that one of my children has been attending the school I have loved seeing many of the same staff members who are caring and wonderful teachers. The headmaster Mrs. Ina Fort-Lightner is very hands on and is very engaged in every aspect of the school. She is compassionate, meticulous, good-natured, visionary, approachable, and straight-forward. Whenever I have needed to schedule a conference with a teacher, I just made an appointment. My kids really love learning to swim in the pool.

- submitted by a parent
July 31, 2007
The academic program at MELC is absolutely exceptional! The teachers are patient and kind. They work with each child on his/her level. I have had a child at MELC for the past 4 years and I could't be more pleased with the atmosphere. The kids have so much fun they don't even realize how much they are learning in the process. The swimming program that is held each summer is first rate as well. There are also numerous extracirricular programs available.

- submitted by a parent
no rating July 30, 2007
MELC has a wonderful learning environment. The children are encouraged continuously and are taught the joy of learning. The director and its teachers are extremely protective of the learning time. I respect this because I sent my children to that school because of its learning environment. Parents are not allowed to go into the classrooms but are able to watch their children through a mirror at anytime. Teacher conferences are scheduled twice a year, but a meeting can be set up with a teacher at anytime during lunch. I have also found the director, Ms. Ina Fort, to be very accessible and concerned about the welfare of my two children. I would highly recommend this school. Keshia Elder

- submitted by a parent
no rating July 30, 2007
I'm a grandfather of one of the students and I think this school is absolutely fantastic! My granddaughter learned to read very well and she was great at using a computer. If I were 65 years younger I would certainly enroll in this school and boost my knowledge and social skills as has my grand daughter.This has got to be a No. 5+ rated school.

- submitted by a community member
July 30, 2007
Both of our daughters attended the Montessori Early Learning Center and School of The Arts. I was drawn to the school due to it's unique approach to teaching children and the Arts program.The concept of focusing on a child's individual learning ability was interesting;they fulfilled that objective.I also found the building to very clean, colorful and well organized. I was pleased with their reading program. The Montessori approach which teaches children to initially focus on sounds and not just learning alphabets,provided the foundation for both daughters to excel in reading. My daughters also benefited greatly from the Arts programs. Both got their start in ballet at MELC, which not only assisted with their social skills, but also provided them with the confidence to perform in public, today. I found the staff, including the Director to be professional,friendly and caring. And,they adhere to strict guidelines to protect the students. The school certainly deserves five stars.

- submitted by a parent
July 30, 2007
My child has been attending MELC for 4 years and the experience has been wonderful. She has obtained a quality education that that is unbeatable. Parents and administration are encouraged to interact twice a year at the parent conferences, but the director is always available by phone, day or night. The parent club is wonderful, but not a lot of parent participation. I have always been able to get my child's progress from the teacher when I asked. Wonderful extracurricular activities. If they more available grade levels we would certainly continue.

- submitted by a parent
July 30, 2007
We discovered the Montessori Early Learning Center when our son was 4 1/2, substantially beyond the age at which it would have been best for him to start there. However, the staff and faculty of the school welcomed him and made a commitment to helping him catch up and even excel in his education. Almost immediately, we saw him learning skills he had never even heard of before, and he began to read within months of starting to school there. He still struggled, but the faculty and staff were so very patient with him, and found effective ways to encourage him to keep at it. He developed a confidence in his academic ability that he never would have found elsewhere. Additionally, he had opportunity to participate in multiple arts opportunities that were unique to the MELC, and he discovered skills even we didn't know he had! We love this place!

- submitted by a parent
June 21, 2007
I wish they would add the next plane of learning here. I would keep my child in this school indefinitely! My daughter has been attending since she was 3 and she has learned how to learn. I am sure she will be able to apply those techniques wherever we go from here. She has never been pushed acedemically. She is allowed to move at her own pace (which has been faster in some subjects). The extracurricular activities encourage the children creatively and socially. Parents aren't allowed in the classroom during instruction, but are allowed during open house with a full explanation of their time well spent. Our experience has been amazing.

- submitted by a parent
June 14, 2007
The Montessori Center is the best school we found in this relatively depressed area of Columbia. While the location of the school is convenient, and the indoor and outdoor facilities are great, the attitude of the directress/owner is quite unpleasant. She complains about the low participation in the parent club, and at the same time goes out her way to keep parents away from the classrooms. The allowed time for parent-teacher communication is 20 minutes twice a year! If you try to exchange a few words with your child s teacher or make a minor comment, you are rudely reminded of the school rules drop your child at the front door and leave immediately . If you can put up with that, I believe you can expect your child to have good social skills (the Montessori method is great in that aspect), good academics, and participate in a number of extracurricular activities.

- submitted by a parent
January 05, 2007
We love this school! When our son started at MELC, he was 3 years old and was learning little in public pre-school where the focus was on sitting still and being quiet, not on speaking to a kid's heart. When he started at MELC, we immediately saw a difference in his behavior. The school's teaching method allows our son to control his learning pace, he works on tasks that interest him and is encouraged to interact with the other children in his classroom throughout the day. The teachers are fantastic and care deeply about kids. Every decision made has children's interests as top priority. The teachers treat our son with respect, and in turn receive his respect. 1 1/2 years after starting at MELC, our son is now well behaved, reading, writing (in print and cursive), well spoken on other cultures, and takes ballet and gymnastics. This is a fantastic school!

- submitted by a parent
December 01, 2006
While this school's intent is good, I found the teachers and director to be not open to questions or constructive criticism. While there is a parent club and parents can be involved in that respect, parents are not allowed in the classroom. There is little interaction with your child's teacher(only parent-teacher conferences twice a year and interaction by chance - if you run into the teacher outside of the classroom). You can view the classroom through two-way mirrors, but you are not allowed in (even during your visit/tour). This is to prevent distraction, which is understandable; however, as a result, you can only see what is going on, not hear what is going on. Good academic and extracurricular - push too hard though.

- submitted by a parent
November 08, 2006
I have been absolutely amazed at the academic growth of my 3.5 year old since joining this school. She has been attending for 4 months. The parent tour really opened my eyes to the possibilities of what children these ages can learn. [Her] attitude has tremendously improved after being removed from a traditional daycare. She is learning and growing academically, but behaviorally as well. The teachers and director are all about helping the children learn to their fullest. I have and will continue to recommend this school for anyone with young children. The price is very competitive to traditional daycares and your child is far better off.

- submitted by a parent
October 25, 2006
OCTOBER 2006 In my opinion the Montessori Early Learning Center is a great school. I respect how well the staff and director handled the children when the fire distroyed the school. Even with the limited resorces they had the children still were taught with the upmost care. The children of this school adjust well in what ever environment they happen to go into. The extracurricular activities are wonderful the children enjoy them greatly. All of the parents have adjusted to the situation as well as the children. Again this is my opinion. Thanks for your time.

- submitted by a parent
October 23, 2006
The quality of academic programs at this school is excellent!. My twins started here when they were 3 years old. By the time they turned 4, Hailey was reading books and doing addition. Her brother is not far behind. I am amazed at the things each is learning. Both of them are way ahead of our older neighbors that are in public school. This is not a daycare. It is a private, year round school with high quality, certified teachers. The arts program is wonderful. The Columbia Childrens Ballet is housed here. Both children take ballet, gymnastics, and music class. The great thing about these classes are that they are held in the afternoon, while the children are still at school. This leaves our evenings open for family time. The parent involvement is at the level expected at this size of school. There are some parents that are involved and give 100%.

- submitted by a parent
October 23, 2006
We've been at MELC from primary to current Second Grade (4 years). The school is totally student-centered and focused on instilling each child's love of learning and their achievement. It is a loving, safe environment with highest discipline. The students have self-control, great manners, respect for the Golden Rule, their country and each other. All extracurricular arts classes are on campus and during the afternoon--when I pick up my child she's already finished ballet, drama, piano and art. She's performed publicly since age 3, thanks to the school's expertise. Imagine your child coming home at and asking about the Taj Mahal, identifying all continents, and asking for help with 'research' for a report? Most Elementary students at MELC function above grade level and transition easily into gifted programs in public school. And swimming is a required activity in summer and computer use is taught. I wouldn't enroll my child elsewhere.

- submitted by a parent
October 23, 2006
I personally think the school is awesome. For a school that suffered a fire, that have made a miraculous recovery. The school is absolutely beautiful and the education is wonderful. It is not often that your child has academic learning as well as learns practical life skills. The children that leave this school are almost always placed in the gifted program. Not only are the children strong in academics, but they have great social skills as well. I would highly recommend this school!

- submitted by a former student
October 22, 2006
I have been very pleased with my child's experience at the Montessori Early Learning Center. The staff is extensive and well trained in the pure European Montessori tradition. They have a great Parent Club that I attend regularly and help with fund raisers such as Girl Scout Cookies and the Ballet Alliance. MELC gave my child a great start in reading, math and you can't beat the Montessori training in Geography. The arts program is extensive and my child is able to take music, dance and drama. They put on great recitals each year and the school houses the Children's Ballet of Columbia. Montessori takes dedication from parents. Each parent is encouraged to attend workshops in reading and other subjects that will help your child at home. It takes a lot of time, but was great for my childs development. I highly recommend this school to anyone considering a Montessori education.

- submitted by a parent
January 13, 2006
The quality of this program in my opinion is not good. I did as much reasearch as I possibly could on montessori learning, but I should have done more on this particular school. My husband and I are very invloved with our son. We take an intrest in every milestone of his life. This school does not embrace the parent at all. The child will learn to read but they will not be able to mix well with other children once they are intergrated into other situations after leaving this particular program. The extracurricular activities are awesome. There is little to no parent involvement expected by the Director/owner.

- submitted by a parent
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About this school

The Montessori Early Learning Center and School of the Arts is an unmodified, pure, European based,Montessori School for children 30 months to 3rd grade. We have a 31/2 acre playground with peaceful, landscaped areas, as well as a splash park for children too young for the in ground pool. All of the artists in our Arts school are conservatory trained. We develop the total child.

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Last modified: August 26, 2014

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About GreatSchools

Our mission is to inspire and support families to champion their children's education - at school, at home and in their community. We are a national non-profit with offices and programs in Oakland, Milwaukee, Washington D.C. and Indianapolis.


GreatSchools.org 1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1100, Oakland, CA 94612

©1998-2014 GreatSchools.org All Rights Reserved. GreatSchools is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization | Ad Choices

Montessori Early Learning Center
1101 Balsam Road, Columbia, SC  29210
(803) 772-2262
Last modified Montessori Early Learning Center is a Private school
Montessori Early Learning Center Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 55 reviews.